For the past 50 years or so, African countries have taken on the use of elections as a means of effecting democratic dispensation – yes, presidents don’t know what that means either. 

These elections are often characterised by melodrama. And that, more often than not, is a euphemism for fraud and state-sponsored violence.

It can often seem like presidents are playing from the same rule book. So, to make life easy for any aspiring dictators thinking of running for election in Africa – or if you’re Donald Trump – we have a handy guide just for you.

Play the imitation game

Not feudalism, not autocracy but democracy! Of course, we’re living in modern times where rule of law and respect of fundamental human rights are a prerequisite for all. But you can pretend you’re doing that and play by your own rules.

Deny, deny, deny!

The imitation may not go as planned. Foreign powers and donors may threaten sanctions or even wage military action. Should you get caught, thou shalt deny. Vehemently deny. Elections in your country are always free and fair.

Act like a fool, and fool them

It turns out that many of the electorate do not actually vote issues but rather vote for the person who entertains them the most.

If you can't fool them, drug them

Besides making people euphoric, you could sedate them and arrest their common sense. Ask them to spell Jack Daniels or a local alternative. By the time they’re done spelling, they would be pledging a life-long allegiance to your political ambitions however dimwitted they could be.

Pretend to be a wild animal

Assert that you’re a god or some fierce animal, like a wild cat or some rather rare tree species that only prevails in harsh environs. It’s your way, the highway, or as some might say, up your anus!

Arrest the opposition

Use the state machinery to intimidate and frustrate whoever is pro-opposition. If they desist conquest, arrest them. There is always a reason to incarcerate those poor opposing sods. And if there isn’t, who cares?

Stay strong: incumbency means forever

It’s that simple. You write the scripts. You stage the show. You own the show. The show is called elections. And in this show, you never stumble. If you do, you never fall.

(Well, you can tumble just once)

But for the sake of breaking the internet. Not to lose elections.

Block the internet too

Since you’re not a joking subject. Nobody relegates you to memes. Block social media and any other communication channels online. Besides, people have been blocked on Whatsapp and have never died from it. Block it.


It’s that simple, just win. We already have a president but we just have to go to the polls to vote. In case you’re still doubting, go back to the first point and read through again.